One of the things that happens when "the Government" takes over a "company" like Freddie Mac and/or Fannie May is that almost all the investors lose most if not all of their money. A lot of the money that's going to be "lost" when the Government takes over Fannie May and Freddie Mac is represented in common and preferred shares of stock held by small banks and S&Ls. Like the one Neil Bush...er, Andy McCain left just before it went tits up, soaking the tax-payers for several BILLIONS of $$$$.
Calculated Risk sez reading between the lines of the Federal Banking Agency's (The Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of Thrift Supervision) reaction to the collapses, we're gonna see more bank failures. He doesn't say it, because he's careful, but I think, when we're talking the trillions of dollars of liabilities in FannieMay/FreddieMac, the number of failures is not going to be small.
Remember, when somebody talks about losses like these, the money's not 'lost' in the sense of it having gone missing. Somebody's still got all of it, somewhere. But it is "lost" to the people who counted on it.
I'm pretty much resolutely opposed to the death penalty, but: The kinds of mass fraud and other examples of fiduciary shenanigans, effecting the entire lives of hundreds of thousands, even millions of people, reducing them to poverty, looting their savings, destroying their lives, well, I reckon I could make an exception. Convict 'em if necessary, but take 'em over to the graveyard, and hand 'em a shovel, and have 'em dig a hole, and kneel in it, and put a couple of small-caliber rounds through their heads, and cover the corpses with quick-lime.
It may, or may not, deter future criminals; but is cuts hell out of recidivism...